Some Notes on Self-Editing
Whether you’re posting a status update on Facebook or publishing on a leading syndication website, trivial grammatical and factual errors can cost you your reputation. These lapses can easily make you look unprofessional. It affects you the same way a strand of hair affects the impression and integrity of a seemingly well-cooked dish.
Although editors will go through your copy for polishing one last time, it always pays to proof and edit your own work before submitting it. Don’t entrust the proofing to your word processor’s built-in spell check.
Here are some insights from our editorial team to keep in mind:
Read Your Piece Aloud
It’s easy to tell if something sounds awkward by reading your piece aloud. Clean and effective writing should have smooth transitions and is punctuated properly. As such, your sentences should not make you stutter or run out of breath. Otherwise, there may be a problem in the way you structured words or how you placed commas.
Pretend You’re the Editor
Make believe that you’re the editor receiving the copy for the first time. While skimming through the work, ask the most important questions:
- Is the introduction strong?
- Does the article provide what you need?
- Is it full of deadwoods?
If you cringe upon reading a statement or expression, chances are your article needs some work.
Remember George Orwell
When revising your own work, remember the words of Mr. George Orwell. His rules are about being minimalistic without sacrificing styles. Here are some of his words to live by:
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use a passive where you can use the active
- Never use the passive a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.